WeekEnd HaloLinks: Watchtower Edition

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

"No reason to get excited," ..........The thief, he kindly spoke .........."There are many here among us ...........Who feel that life is but a joke ..............But you and I, we've been through that ...........And this is not our fate ..........So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

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THIRTEEN DAYS LEFT BEFORE SPRING TRAINING OPENS!!!

Folks, for this particular edition I have been rendered unable to fulfill 100% of my weekly duties, and have been fortunate enough to recruit a guest WeekEnd Links host and moderator. Please welcome Of Maicer and Men and treat him well! Take it away OMAM!!

Thank you Stirrups! Taking on Halolinks duty is extremely exciting and dutiful at the same time. I couldn't be any happier about it! I'm hoping by the time Stirrups returns, we've signed us a free agent pitcher (whose name ISN'T Jason Hammel) and that we've finally ceased the signing of washed up veteran upon washed up veteran to minor league deals. I'll specifically mark my contributions with "#OMAM" so that you know what horrific findings you can complain about to me. If it doesn't have the hashtag, it's a Stirrups original. I don't have as much to rant and rave about as the usual man in charge does, so...

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On To Angels Baseball...

MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez focuses on the Angels in his "Around the Horn" series, examining the needs of the Angels by section. His most recent contribution focuses on the corner spots, manned by a pair of 2011 World Series winners... The Angels, meanwhile, miss out on adding an Angel killer never mentioned in any speculatory piece, going back to a team unafraid of stockpiling pitching young and old... A new Angels fan blog has appeared! Tanner Shurtz, Anthony Emmerling and Scott Stedman recently launched Maniac Ball, a sabermetrically-inclined Angels site. Writer Brent Maguire offers up a piece with the 25 best Angels seasons by pitchers and hitters alike, constructed into one roster... Lord knows that the Angels would love add A.J. Burnett, seeing as three different general managers (Stoneman, Reagins, Dipoto) have all made attempts, token or serious, at landing him. Knowing his trepidations about going West, however, let's torture ourselves by offering a look at our closest attempt yet to acquiring him. #OMAM

Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Stuff On the Internet:

Feeling lazy as Winter winds down? Here, let me help you with all that. How about something to take away all that difficulty in slicing a banana. And never suffer the pain of uneven hot dog bits again. And, really, isn't the difficulty of slicing a strawberry just the pits? Speaking of pits, thank The Maker that we finally have a way to remove those buggers from within a cherry!! For those people who love their corn in tiny little bits, but cannot find the freezer section of their local grocer, well, an answer to their prayers has finally arrived!

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This Date In Baseball History: 1961 - Houston citizens vote to approve the funding for a domed stadium, which will become the Astrodome. A later generation of Houston voters rejected a renovation funding bill just last year, in November, and the demolition of said Astrodome commenced on December 8...........2000 - Bud Selig suspends John Rocker for being stupid. If Selig's intent was to make Rocker into something un-stupid, it didn't work..........2001 - Three ex-New York Giants are quoted in the Wall Street Journal as confessing to stealing signs during the 1951 season when they overtook the Dodgers' 13 1/2 game lead. And that was considered news............2003 - The White Sox announce that they have sold out and Comiskey Park will lose the name it has held for 93 years, becoming U.S. Cellular Field. Although U.S. Cellular still headquarters in Chicago, they sold their Chicago services to Sprint. So fans attending games at U.S Cellular Field can't be U.S. Cellular customers. And their in-game service most likely sucks anyway...........2007 - As predictable as a Lindsay Lohan court date, MLB announces that the 2008 All-Star Game will be held in the old Yankee Stadium, as part of it's farewell season. And, just to make sure we all know where our MLB bread is buttered, the announcement comes from Gracie Mansion, home of the NYC Mayor.

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Great Moments in Baseball Statistical History

(My primary source for this series is the excellent book The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination With Statistics, Alan Schwarz author, Thomas Dunne Books Publisher.)

F.C. Lane

F.C. Lane is yet another typical tale of some random soul, outside the game for whatever reason but carrying a strong passion for all the information he could lay his hands on concerning baseball, who ends up stepping in and shaking up the establishment.

The most notable accomplishment attributable to Lane was the recognition that batting average was a fairly worthless means to determine the most accomplished hitter. Lane had worked his way onto the scene, and then up the ranks, to take a position at Baseball Magazine in 1910, from where he could compose lengthy and thoughtful articles for the monthly publication. And, oh, how he did. As mentioned in the BB link that is his name above, Lane composed nearly a 1000 treatises in his lifetime. And those articles could be meaty!

It was Lane who raised the notion that a doubles was worth more than a single, and a triple worth more than a double, and a home run worth more than all. At the time, home run hitters were still looked down upon and muscle-clouting showoffs. We were still under a lot of the influence of Henry Chadwick and "little ball". As Schwarz relates, Lane was quoted "Would a system that placed nickels, dimes, quarters and 50-cent pieces on the same basis be much of a system whereby to compute a man's financial resources? And yet it is precisely such a loose, inaccurate system which obtains in baseball." (1)

Lane dove hard into the task. Studying game results he created a table of "run values" for each type of hit. Initially it broke down to .25 for a single, .50 for a double, .75 for a triple, and 1.0 for a home run. Then he dug in even deeper and incorporated additional factors of play and results, and the rations moved to .30, .60, .90 and 1.15. With this level of accuracy Cole then went back and compared leading hitter of the time, and determined that (as he had expected), the batter capable of doing more than just punching a lot of singles was the superior contributor. Cole was not done, though. Over time - all manual you must remember! - Cole further refined these values to .457, .786, 1.15 and 1.55. Six decades later these values would be validated almost exactly using computer regression analysis and results from 1000's of actual games. (2)

Now, I know what you are thinking. This smells a lot like Slugging Percentage. Cole was closing in on SLG but, in reality, what Cole really did was create the first run expectancy model. And he did it by hand. And he had done it by 1925.

(1) The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination With Statistics, Alan Schwarz (2004) Thomas Dunne Books, pp34-35

(2) The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination With Statistics, Alan Schwarz (2004) Thomas Dunne Books, p36

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29 other Major League teams passed on waivers for this pitcher, who will instead leave his Minnesota Twins for Korea's Hanwha Eagles... Ken Rosenthal hides behind the veil of concern to tell Vernon Wells to take his toys and stay home this season, which we wished for three seasons ago... Three top foreign arms are still open and available for the taking: this one who is sitting on four offers, this one who was just cleared to sign, and this one that most people outside of the Red Sox have seemed to forget about... On a voluntary basis, MLB has finally approved of their move to protect pitchers from one of baseball's scariest scenarios... Instead of joining the Baseball Hall of Fame, this player will be doing pregame and postgame analysis for a team he spent just one year playing for. #OMAM

Video Of The Week

(Our game is almost back. A reminder...)


(Having troubling viewing the video? Click here.)

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Just as much as we were a stepping stone for Mark Teixeira to get to the Yankees, the entire sport was a stepping stone for this Super Bowl quarterback to attain his glory... How many 87-year-old men do you know that would willingly sit 17 hours on a plane to call a baseball game? Well, here's one... If Miley Cyrus wasn't bad enough, just wait for this sickening image on a wrecking ball... Got twenty minutes to kill? Test your baseball knowledge to the max... Or you could just test your patience and your countenance with arguably the dumbest cartoon character of the current generation. #OMAM

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And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...

Friday: Guess what? Two weeks later we STILL have both Beachwood BBQ locations, in Seal Beach and Long Beach, ARE STILL host their 3rd Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle this weekend, too (from last weekend). Festivities take place on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday...........Ciro's Pizzeria and Beerhouse in San Diego is rejoining the act with Yeti's / Yeti's / Yeti's Tasting/Release.

Saturday: Both Beachwood BBQ locations, in Seal Beach and Long Beach, ARE STILL host their 3rd Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle this weekend, too (from last weekend). Festivities take place on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday..........Napa Smith Brewery in Napa is doing a charity beer event of their own, Frosty Toss & Brewskis! Featuring corn holing. Rubgy players...whaddaya gonna do?..........Stone Brewing down south is on the verge of their Stone Winter Storm 2014 (kind of a fun web page, if you are missing rainy weather here in California), and they are offering up a pair of previews they are calling The Calm Before The Storm. One is in Escondido at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. The other is at Liberty Station in San Diego.

Sunday: Both Beachwood BBQ locations, in Seal Beach and Long Beach, ARE STILL host their 3rd Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle this weekend, too (from last weekend). Festivities take place on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday..........

Stay safe, everyone!

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